Author Topic: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?  (Read 1877 times)

Monkey Uncle

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I'll be FIREing in about three weeks.  According to all my number crunching, I should never need any job income ever again.  But being the conservative type and knowing that sometimes things don't work out according to plan, I am considering doing a little part time consulting.  I don't have any concrete plans at the moment; just a vague notion that I'd like to keep a toe in the water in case something unexpected happens and I need to ramp up and earn 20 grand or so for a few years.

If I do this, my consulting gigs most likely would come from the professional contacts that I currently have in place.  So it would be wise to get something started shortly after my FIRE date, before everyone forgets about me and fills the hole that I'm leaving with someone/something else.  But I have absolutely no desire to jump right in and start working 15 or 20 hours a week immediately after I pull the rip cord.  I'd like to take at least six months or a year to decompress and not think about my former work at all, establish a new pattern of living, and just do what I want.  Then, if I still feel the need to work for pay, I would like to take on gigs on my own terms.  But I'm concerned that I may not find any opportunities if I wait that long.

I've also considered doing small amounts of volunteer work as a way of keeping my face fresh in people's minds (my line of work presents a number of opportunities for volunteering).  That would feel less like work to me, but it's still not the complete unplugging that I feel like I need to really clear my mind and get past the career hangover.

So for those of you who have done something similar, how did you handle this transition?
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Freedom17

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2017, 04:54:33 AM »
I was in very much the same situation, having FIREd almost 4 months ago I figured I'd keep the door open for a consulting gig in case I got too bored. The way I thought about it if consulting got in the way of hobbies or the lifestyle I wanted I could always quit.

I mentioned leaving full time employment to an old colleague who had just founded a startup and he needed my expertise. The great thing with this arrangement is that I work from home, from half way around the world in a very different time zone, and I only work 3 days a week. I only do the interesting work and just interact with my boss directly.

This has been working great so far, because I don't need the money I could be very firm on what I wanted and I got it. It's great to still have the creative outlet and mental stimulation minus all the BS that usually comes with working in a company. The best thing is I get to do the cool stuff and my boss has a whole team of people to do all the grunt work it takes to turn that cool stuff into a real product. So I get to see an amazing product built out of the cool work that I get to focus on.

Overall it's been a really positive experience, and the money has been great too. I'd say figure out exactly what you want and don't settle for anything less and don't do more than 3 days a week. If you find that it's getting in the way of hobbies you can always quit.

For decompression I setup the consulting gig and then took a 2 month break before starting the contract. This gave me enough time to enjoy life with no work and travel a bit.

I can imagine next year I may end up cutting back to 2 days a week but all in all consulting has been a great experience so far. It also let me see that work on your own terms can be really enjoyable.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: December 14, 2017, 04:57:27 AM by Freedom17 »



Monkey Uncle

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2017, 06:52:19 PM »
Thanks for that perspective, Freedom17.
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AdrianC

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2017, 08:07:44 PM »
Congrats on FIREing!

I haven't done quite the same thing. I've been a self-employed consultant for most of my career. The last couple of years I've taken on a lot less work, so now I'm doing part-time consulting (4 billable hours this week, for example).

Do you know how you will structure the business side of things? I have an LLC, general liability insurance, etc. There's some advantages - business expense deductions (cell phone, home office, car mileage, travel expenses) and health insurance premiums are deductible. You might need to register your business and get on your clients' vendor lists. That can be a hassle. Alternatively, you can probably work through another company already on the vendor lists. I've had subs work through my business like this. I take a small fee (10%) for this, as a favor to my clients. I expect other firms would take quite a bit more.

You'd also need to think about an appropriate billing rate. A good starting rate is 2x your hourly rate as an employee, 1.5x at a minimum. Even better if you can find out what others are billing.

I intend to continue with some PT consulting. Like you, I don't need to do it for the money at present. It's good to keep the contacts, keep the skills current, and...I kinda still like doing it, especially when it's more on my terms.

Good luck!

gerardc

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2017, 11:56:48 PM »
I was in very much the same situation, having FIREd almost 4 months ago I figured I'd keep the door open for a consulting gig in case I got too bored. The way I thought about it if consulting got in the way of hobbies or the lifestyle I wanted I could always quit.

I mentioned leaving full time employment to an old colleague who had just founded a startup and he needed my expertise. The great thing with this arrangement is that I work from home, from half way around the world in a very different time zone, and I only work 3 days a week. I only do the interesting work and just interact with my boss directly.

This has been working great so far, because I don't need the money I could be very firm on what I wanted and I got it. It's great to still have the creative outlet and mental stimulation minus all the BS that usually comes with working in a company. The best thing is I get to do the cool stuff and my boss has a whole team of people to do all the grunt work it takes to turn that cool stuff into a real product. So I get to see an amazing product built out of the cool work that I get to focus on.

Overall it's been a really positive experience, and the money has been great too. I'd say figure out exactly what you want and don't settle for anything less and don't do more than 3 days a week. If you find that it's getting in the way of hobbies you can always quit.

For decompression I setup the consulting gig and then took a 2 month break before starting the contract. This gave me enough time to enjoy life with no work and travel a bit.

I can imagine next year I may end up cutting back to 2 days a week but all in all consulting has been a great experience so far. It also let me see that work on your own terms can be really enjoyable.

Good luck!

Interesting, so I figure you don't get endless Skype meetings all day, you just get an email for your boss to "do this", then you work solo?

How good is the pay compared to FT (on an hourly basis, let's say)

Monkey Uncle

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2017, 05:37:55 AM »
Congrats on FIREing!

I haven't done quite the same thing. I've been a self-employed consultant for most of my career. The last couple of years I've taken on a lot less work, so now I'm doing part-time consulting (4 billable hours this week, for example).

Do you know how you will structure the business side of things? I have an LLC, general liability insurance, etc. There's some advantages - business expense deductions (cell phone, home office, car mileage, travel expenses) and health insurance premiums are deductible. You might need to register your business and get on your clients' vendor lists. That can be a hassle. Alternatively, you can probably work through another company already on the vendor lists. I've had subs work through my business like this. I take a small fee (10%) for this, as a favor to my clients. I expect other firms would take quite a bit more.

You'd also need to think about an appropriate billing rate. A good starting rate is 2x your hourly rate as an employee, 1.5x at a minimum. Even better if you can find out what others are billing.

I intend to continue with some PT consulting. Like you, I don't need to do it for the money at present. It's good to keep the contacts, keep the skills current, and...I kinda still like doing it, especially when it's more on my terms.

Good luck!

Thanks, Adrian.

I haven't done anything specific with the business structure yet; I think I'm not-so-subconsciously resisting due to my desire to unplug.  But I have put some thought into it.  I most likely would do a LLC because of the tax and liability advantages.  This is looking particularly attractive in light of the tax reform bill's provision that allows a 20% deduction on pass-through income.  I know what it would take to get registered as a vendor with my current employer.  It's a real PITA, but absolutely mandatory if I want to work for them.  I'd have to check into it for other potential clients.

I have some ideas about rates also.  When I was an employee of a consulting company way back when, they charged 3.45x salary.  I always thought that was excessive, which was validated when I discovered that the company gave big discounts to state government clients that were prohibited by regulation from paying those rates.  It just so happens that I recently reviewed some proposals from several consulting firms for work similar to what I might do, so that gives me a more current idea of rates.

Yesterday I attended a big meeting with a company that my agency is regulating.  I was talking with one of the company managers about my impending retirement, and he made it pretty clear that there are opportunities for me in his company.  I didn't pursue the details in the short time that we had to chat, so I'm not sure if he meant consulting or an actual employment arrangement (in which I would have absolutely zero interest).  Later on, one of the consultants who works for the company asked if he could contact me after I retire.  I said yes, although privately I'm feeling pretty ambivalent about it.  I don't want to close any doors, but I'm not sure how I feel about "switching sides," so to speak.  Some of the companies we interact with, no way in hell would I work for them, but this one is pretty conscientious.  Plus, I really don't want to jump into working any substantial hours right away.  But I figured there's no harm in listening to what he has to say.

I also need to do some networking with the non-profits that partner with my employer on a number of projects.  I would not be ethically conflicted about doing work for them, but they are cash poor, so I think the opportunities for paid work will be pretty limited.  I am sure I can find some volunteer work to do for them, which could be a way to stay known until I find just the right low-stress paid opportunity, either for them or for my current employer.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2017, 05:42:42 AM by Monkey Uncle »
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Monkey Uncle

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2017, 04:28:11 PM »
Overall it's been a really positive experience, and the money has been great too. I'd say figure out exactly what you want and don't settle for anything less and don't do more than 3 days a week. If you find that it's getting in the way of hobbies you can always quit.

For decompression I setup the consulting gig and then took a 2 month break before starting the contract. This gave me enough time to enjoy life with no work and travel a bit.

From where I sit right now, I'm thinking three days a week after a two month break would be way too much for me.  I guess what I was really hoping for with this thread was that someone would chime in and say, "I took a one year break, then easily picked up a couple of consulting gigs from my former network.  I work no more than 500 hours a year and clear around 25 grand after taxes."

Am I delusional?
"Take this job and shove it" - David Allan Coe

gerardc

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2017, 06:33:25 PM »
Overall it's been a really positive experience, and the money has been great too. I'd say figure out exactly what you want and don't settle for anything less and don't do more than 3 days a week. If you find that it's getting in the way of hobbies you can always quit.

For decompression I setup the consulting gig and then took a 2 month break before starting the contract. This gave me enough time to enjoy life with no work and travel a bit.

From where I sit right now, I'm thinking three days a week after a two month break would be way too much for me.  I guess what I was really hoping for with this thread was that someone would chime in and say, "I took a one year break, then easily picked up a couple of consulting gigs from my former network.  I work no more than 500 hours a year and clear around 25 grand after taxes."

Am I delusional?

What is your field of expertise?

In software, I'm pretty sure that's doable. Amounts to ~$100/h, 10h/week on average. That's roughly my plan too. I haven't found it incredibly hard to find consulting work like that in the past. I wouldn't be too inflexible on the 1 year thing, or the 10h/week only, or salary, as you have to seize opportunities when they come, but it should work out IMO.

Freedom17

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2017, 01:00:01 AM »
I was in very much the same situation, having FIREd almost 4 months ago I figured I'd keep the door open for a consulting gig in case I got too bored. The way I thought about it if consulting got in the way of hobbies or the lifestyle I wanted I could always quit.

I mentioned leaving full time employment to an old colleague who had just founded a startup and he needed my expertise. The great thing with this arrangement is that I work from home, from half way around the world in a very different time zone, and I only work 3 days a week. I only do the interesting work and just interact with my boss directly.

This has been working great so far, because I don't need the money I could be very firm on what I wanted and I got it. It's great to still have the creative outlet and mental stimulation minus all the BS that usually comes with working in a company. The best thing is I get to do the cool stuff and my boss has a whole team of people to do all the grunt work it takes to turn that cool stuff into a real product. So I get to see an amazing product built out of the cool work that I get to focus on.

Overall it's been a really positive experience, and the money has been great too. I'd say figure out exactly what you want and don't settle for anything less and don't do more than 3 days a week. If you find that it's getting in the way of hobbies you can always quit.

For decompression I setup the consulting gig and then took a 2 month break before starting the contract. This gave me enough time to enjoy life with no work and travel a bit.

I can imagine next year I may end up cutting back to 2 days a week but all in all consulting has been a great experience so far. It also let me see that work on your own terms can be really enjoyable.

Good luck!

Interesting, so I figure you don't get endless Skype meetings all day, you just get an email for your boss to "do this", then you work solo?

How good is the pay compared to FT (on an hourly basis, let's say)

So I have very little contact with the regular team. I have a video conference with my boss for 30 minutes to 1 hour each day I work then just go off and do my work. Usually I know what needs to be done and how to execute so my boss is mostly giving me product guidance, i.e. what the product needs, then I tell him what the technical options are and execute from there forward.

I work in software so usually I just expose an interface for my algorithms and then the rest of the team connects to that on their side which makes it easy to work remotely, in a different time zone etc.

In my case pay is hard to compare for several reasons. I was working in a big corporation, now I'm in a startup so pay is less but I get equity. Also I've moved country so tax is different, as is medical etc. My pay is very high by local standards but about on par with what I was earning in the big corporation. As a general rule I would say 1.5x - 2x would be the right multiplier for consulting vs. full time.



Monkey Uncle

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2017, 04:19:17 AM »
Overall it's been a really positive experience, and the money has been great too. I'd say figure out exactly what you want and don't settle for anything less and don't do more than 3 days a week. If you find that it's getting in the way of hobbies you can always quit.

For decompression I setup the consulting gig and then took a 2 month break before starting the contract. This gave me enough time to enjoy life with no work and travel a bit.

From where I sit right now, I'm thinking three days a week after a two month break would be way too much for me.  I guess what I was really hoping for with this thread was that someone would chime in and say, "I took a one year break, then easily picked up a couple of consulting gigs from my former network.  I work no more than 500 hours a year and clear around 25 grand after taxes."

Am I delusional?

What is your field of expertise?

In software, I'm pretty sure that's doable. Amounts to ~$100/h, 10h/week on average. That's roughly my plan too. I haven't found it incredibly hard to find consulting work like that in the past. I wouldn't be too inflexible on the 1 year thing, or the 10h/week only, or salary, as you have to seize opportunities when they come, but it should work out IMO.

I'm in natural resource management, which probably isn't as lucrative as software.  The big consulting firms bill out people at my level well over $100/hr, but as an independent consultant, I'd probably be closer to the $75 - $100/hr range.  So if I could do 500 hrs a year, I think netting $25k/yr is totally doable.  The real question is whether I can structure something that provides those hours.  If so, it probably would be lumpy rather than a steady 10 hrs/week.  I'm o.k. with that, but I don't want to do a bunch of 50 hour weeks right out of the gate.
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Linda_Norway

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2017, 06:29:28 AM »
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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2017, 11:00:45 AM »
From where I sit right now, I'm thinking three days a week after a two month break would be way too much for me.  I guess what I was really hoping for with this thread was that someone would chime in and say, "I took a one year break, then easily picked up a couple of consulting gigs from my former network.  I work no more than 500 hours a year and clear around 25 grand after taxes."

Am I delusional?

No, you're not delusional:  that's more or less what happened to me.  I FIRE'd three years ago, almost to the day, and I didn't work at all for more than a year.  In the meantime, a former colleague of mine started her own business, and I offered to pitch in as she was getting things off the ground.  So in 2016, my second year of retirement, I worked maybe 150-200 hours for her, and in 2017 I've worked roughly twice that much.  The work ebbs and flows, which suits me just fine, and I intend to keep the same workload in 2018, give or take.  I do the kind of work I like to do, and I don't have to deal with clients, meetings, and all that unpleasantness.

The main difference is that when I quit, I didn't have any plan to pick up consulting-type work.  I just stumbled into it.  Given that you're actively planning to go that route, I think your chances of finding a situation you like are even better.


Monkey Uncle

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2017, 06:32:59 PM »
From where I sit right now, I'm thinking three days a week after a two month break would be way too much for me.  I guess what I was really hoping for with this thread was that someone would chime in and say, "I took a one year break, then easily picked up a couple of consulting gigs from my former network.  I work no more than 500 hours a year and clear around 25 grand after taxes."

Am I delusional?

No, you're not delusional:  that's more or less what happened to me.  I FIRE'd three years ago, almost to the day, and I didn't work at all for more than a year.  In the meantime, a former colleague of mine started her own business, and I offered to pitch in as she was getting things off the ground.  So in 2016, my second year of retirement, I worked maybe 150-200 hours for her, and in 2017 I've worked roughly twice that much.  The work ebbs and flows, which suits me just fine, and I intend to keep the same workload in 2018, give or take.  I do the kind of work I like to do, and I don't have to deal with clients, meetings, and all that unpleasantness.

The main difference is that when I quit, I didn't have any plan to pick up consulting-type work.  I just stumbled into it.  Given that you're actively planning to go that route, I think your chances of finding a situation you like are even better.

That sounds great, Carolina.  What line of work are you in, if you don't mind my asking?
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the_fixer

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2017, 09:37:34 AM »
My wife is a consultant at an engineering firm and our pie in the sky dream is that she will be able to pickup a few projects here and there to keep her skills up, resume current and earn some money from time to time.

We are a few years out but instead of steady x hours per week we would rather have it to where she gets a project then a period of time off between projects so we can travel and not be tied to a job.

Just starting the research and would be interested in any pointers.

She has a broad skill set, anything from pharma, food, oil and gas to plant design.

We are thinking that recruiters or head hunters might have a need for a good engineer that they can plug into a temporary project here and there?

Not trying to hijacked the thread so feel free to PM me if that is better.

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« Last Edit: December 23, 2017, 09:46:04 AM by the_fixer »

AdrianC

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2017, 10:47:11 AM »
I'm in natural resource management, which probably isn't as lucrative as software.  The big consulting firms bill out people at my level well over $100/hr, but as an independent consultant, I'd probably be closer to the $75 - $100/hr range.  So if I could do 500 hrs a year, I think netting $25k/yr is totally doable.  The real question is whether I can structure something that provides those hours.  If so, it probably would be lumpy rather than a steady 10 hrs/week.  I'm o.k. with that, but I don't want to do a bunch of 50 hour weeks right out of the gate.

Be careful not to sell your time too cheap when you don't need the money (charity/non-profit work is something else, of course). The best thing I learned from Dave Ramsey was when someone called in and said they were working all hours in their business. Ramsey said you're working too much and obviously too cheap, increase your price. I was doing 50, 60, sometimes 80 hours a week at the time. I took it to heart. I began a program of raising my billing rate every few months. I also turned down any work that would have me away during our kid's school holidays. It had the desired effect, and I've now permanently lost all my pain-in-the-neck clients and still get offered more work than I want from the good ones.

I'd think the top end of your billing range would be doable.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2017, 04:18:45 PM »
I'm in natural resource management, which probably isn't as lucrative as software.  The big consulting firms bill out people at my level well over $100/hr, but as an independent consultant, I'd probably be closer to the $75 - $100/hr range.  So if I could do 500 hrs a year, I think netting $25k/yr is totally doable.  The real question is whether I can structure something that provides those hours.  If so, it probably would be lumpy rather than a steady 10 hrs/week.  I'm o.k. with that, but I don't want to do a bunch of 50 hour weeks right out of the gate.

Be careful not to sell your time too cheap when you don't need the money (charity/non-profit work is something else, of course). The best thing I learned from Dave Ramsey was when someone called in and said they were working all hours in their business. Ramsey said you're working too much and obviously too cheap, increase your price. I was doing 50, 60, sometimes 80 hours a week at the time. I took it to heart. I began a program of raising my billing rate every few months. I also turned down any work that would have me away during our kid's school holidays. It had the desired effect, and I've now permanently lost all my pain-in-the-neck clients and still get offered more work than I want from the good ones.

I'd think the top end of your billing range would be doable.

Thanks for that perspective, Adrian, that's very helpful. 

I think my rate would depend on the type of work I do.  I'd love to do some bird surveys, which is a lot of fun for me, but it's basically field tech work.  I probably couldn't bill more than $75/hr for that type of work.  But if I do more "indoor" work (representing clients in meetings, advising on permitting, persuasive writing, etc.), I'd probably be billing more like 125 - 150/hr.  I absolutely have the luxury of being flexible and doing the type of work I want to do, and billing a fair rate for it accordingly.

At this point I'm thinking that I'm just going to start by doing some low-key volunteer work to stay known, and maybe pick up a rare gig or two that happens to fall into my lap.  I re-ran my numbers again, and I'm pretty much golden unless the ACA totally tanks (I'd be fine if something similar to last summer's Senate "repeal and replace" bill passed).  So I really don't feel like I need to market myself aggressively, and I certainly don't want to get sucked into any long hours/high stress situations.
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Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2017, 10:59:44 PM »
I'm in natural resource management, which probably isn't as lucrative as software.  The big consulting firms bill out people at my level well over $100/hr, but as an independent consultant, I'd probably be closer to the $75 - $100/hr range.  So if I could do 500 hrs a year, I think netting $25k/yr is totally doable.  The real question is whether I can structure something that provides those hours.  If so, it probably would be lumpy rather than a steady 10 hrs/week.  I'm o.k. with that, but I don't want to do a bunch of 50 hour weeks right out of the gate.

Be careful not to sell your time too cheap when you don't need the money (charity/non-profit work is something else, of course). The best thing I learned from Dave Ramsey was when someone called in and said they were working all hours in their business. Ramsey said you're working too much and obviously too cheap, increase your price. I was doing 50, 60, sometimes 80 hours a week at the time. I took it to heart. I began a program of raising my billing rate every few months. I also turned down any work that would have me away during our kid's school holidays. It had the desired effect, and I've now permanently lost all my pain-in-the-neck clients and still get offered more work than I want from the good ones.

I'd think the top end of your billing range would be doable.

Thanks for that perspective, Adrian, that's very helpful. 

I think my rate would depend on the type of work I do.  I'd love to do some bird surveys, which is a lot of fun for me, but it's basically field tech work.  I probably couldn't bill more than $75/hr for that type of work.  But if I do more "indoor" work (representing clients in meetings, advising on permitting, persuasive writing, etc.), I'd probably be billing more like 125 - 150/hr.  I absolutely have the luxury of being flexible and doing the type of work I want to do, and billing a fair rate for it accordingly.

At this point I'm thinking that I'm just going to start by doing some low-key volunteer work to stay known, and maybe pick up a rare gig or two that happens to fall into my lap.  I re-ran my numbers again, and I'm pretty much golden unless the ACA totally tanks (I'd be fine if something similar to last summer's Senate "repeal and replace" bill passed).  So I really don't feel like I need to market myself aggressively, and I certainly don't want to get sucked into any long hours/high stress situations.

Agree with other posters re: valuing your time.  I've been down this route and couldn't agree more. 

As for business, you want to think of it like your own personal start-up.  You want to value yourself, so personally, I would take the six-month (or however-long) break.

If anything, you could do some prep, print some biz cards, let people know you'll be available, and then just deal with any leads as they come in, telling them you'll be available starting ___ 2018. 

Then, when you're ready, you reconnect with old friends: do coffee, pick up the phone and call, and so on.  See how they're doing.  Mention you're available, and what you're doing now.  You don't have to sell it, especially for people who know you and your work.  (I assume you do great work.)

Once you do that, keep doing it every so often, especially with good professional connections and/or anyone who might refer you any business.  If you're social, you'll have fun and it'll be easy.  Personally, I had a number of leads - often from places I expected the least - and then had fun work that paid well.  I didn't take the many lower-value opportunities. 

After a while, you may develop particular people and/or clients who generate business for you.  I had one person who kept referring quality clients to me and that turned out to be a great relationship.  I would also help her with her business to the extent that I could when something came up - it was quick, fun, and a mutually beneficial thing. 

You'll gain a reputation for being honest, professional, and competent the more you work, and the reputation will ensure you keep getting business.  At least that's how it worked for me.  It helps if you're social.  But even if not, that's what you need to do - just look at those hours catching up as "non-billed" hours that you're having to put in.  (You'll want to account for those hours for purposes of telling how much you're putting in time-wise versus getting out revenue-wise so you know your true hourly rate.) 

Best wishes on your new business!!! 

Monkey Uncle

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2017, 04:11:51 AM »
That's great advice, Finances.  Thanks much.
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Mr Mark

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2017, 05:17:25 AM »
I'm also planning to do some part-time consulting post FIRE.

My megacorp is moving to a more external consulting model in the field I'm in as well so expect a bit there.

Biggest risk I found talking to colleagues who were also FIRE was that they found it difficult to keep the hours down. Once a company finds you and likes your work they can demand more and more of your time. If you say "no, that week I'm diving in costa Rica sorry" they drop you completely and find someone else.

Megacorp also have a standard contract set up for ex employees so they should be doable. And agree to set up towards the top of your fee range. Good help is damn hard to find.
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Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2017, 12:36:07 PM »
I'm also planning to do some part-time consulting post FIRE.

My megacorp is moving to a more external consulting model in the field I'm in as well so expect a bit there.

Biggest risk I found talking to colleagues who were also FIRE was that they found it difficult to keep the hours down. Once a company finds you and likes your work they can demand more and more of your time. If you say "no, that week I'm diving in costa Rica sorry" they drop you completely and find someone else.

Megacorp also have a standard contract set up for ex employees so they should be doable. And agree to set up towards the top of your fee range. Good help is damn hard to find.

You're welcome, MU.

Yeah, that's tough: they make you drop your boundaries or they refuse to work with you.  Personally, I would probably walk away.  But I know that can be hard to do. 

markbike528CBX

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #20 on: December 24, 2017, 01:11:19 PM »
PTF.

I'm about to be in the consulting biz. 
 I'm retiring because my company / boss can't deal with a 4 month sabbatical / leave of absence. I promised myself  "no more summers  working."

I might be able to sign on as a employee of a subcontractor, but a) I'd have lowball offers b) I'd have to show up onsite at regular times,, yech.

I'm not a natural networker.  My major worry is Out-of-sight, Out-of-mind.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2017, 11:29:14 PM »
That's great advice, Finances.  Thanks much.

You're welcome. Best of luck to you, and enjoy it!

risky4me

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2018, 11:43:32 PM »
Retired for a few years now and do very limited PT consulting. I listened to advice and got my hourly up enough that I don't get more work than I want. I do technical drawing and you can hire a kid out of college for a fraction of what I charge, but my experience in this specific industry makes it work. I need occasional challenge to keep my skills honed, and the limited work gives me these challenges.
I did underestimate how difficult it can be to get your head back into the game accepting deadlines after you have been controlling your life without any deadlines for a while. No complaints though- It has worked out perfectly for me so far. Good Luck.
family frugality phrase 'Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without'

Monkey Uncle

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2018, 04:24:15 AM »
Retired for a few years now and do very limited PT consulting. I listened to advice and got my hourly up enough that I don't get more work than I want. I do technical drawing and you can hire a kid out of college for a fraction of what I charge, but my experience in this specific industry makes it work. I need occasional challenge to keep my skills honed, and the limited work gives me these challenges.
I did underestimate how difficult it can be to get your head back into the game accepting deadlines after you have been controlling your life without any deadlines for a while. No complaints though- It has worked out perfectly for me so far. Good Luck.

How long of a break did you take before you started consulting?
"Take this job and shove it" - David Allan Coe

risky4me

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2018, 06:08:07 PM »

How long of a break did you take before you started consulting?
[/quote]

 I made myself available to the company I retired from immediately, hoping I would get a good break, but as others here of said, once they find another solution you may SOL. Luckily six months or so went by before they needed me so that it was fun to take on some small projects.
 
  I do 3D CAD and its not the kind of thing you put down for long and expect to jump back in. I create plans for my own use, but the challenge of getting correct output in the proper format is a BIG part of being useful. In a little over two years I have worked on three projects where they need drawings fast but then it goes away until the next phase or major change.

 I do not want to do this full time so I love that things pop up on a piecemeal basis. This is not a huge money maker for me, but it keeps me sharp and helps pay for some expensive licensing. And I love doing it on a limited scale!

family frugality phrase 'Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without'

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2018, 05:26:57 PM »
I've been a PT Consultant for the last 3 years.  I probably work more than most would want (28 weeks in 2017), but I like the work, control my schedule, and I am fairly compensated for my time.

My transition was more good luck then careful planing.  Plan B did not last and consulting opened up as a good option C.  My background is largely Big Pharma and I had decided to down-shift in my 50s to work at the local university.  I was doing similar tasks (training and project management) and the work was great, but I did not anticipate the politics.  When the Dean stepped down the new department head was not a good fit and I decided to strike off on my own (FU money).  The seed had been planted to consider independent consulting via a LinkedIn friend the previous year. 

The shift to consulting was almost immediate as most of my business was based upon developed relationships.  I have kept most of the same clients over the last 3 years.  New clients emerge but I limit my available consulting time. 

The money was actually an improvement over university pay, working less time and answering only to clients.  Being FI has enabled me to minimize marketing with no pressure to get the next gig.  In fact I have just blocked the previous 2 months as unavailable to spend holiday time with family.

The big question from my wife and daughters is how long I will continue to consult?  I don't have a date or savings number.  I'll keep it up as long as it is enjoyable and a good fit.  I travel a bit more then I would like but there is no commuting.  Controlling my schedule is the key happiness factor.   I know I will take off most of June, July and September (for volunteering and a DD wedding).  So far, so good. 

If consulting tails off in time, I'd be fine with that.  I'll probably play out the string, especially with the tax benefits (Solo 401K & 2018 pass-through deductions).  I've found I enjoy a limited amount of work - it keeps my skills sharp and helps me appreciate my time off. 

I hope that was somewhat helpful. 

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2018, 06:31:44 PM »
Yes, that's helpful, NAVRESLDO.  Thanks for sharing your experience.
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Ocinfo

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2018, 06:56:02 PM »
I see a big focus on $ per hour rates. I suggest thinking about what value your services provide to a potential customer and just putting a fixed fee on it. If you can do something in 3 hours that solves a $10k monthly problem then no reason to “only” bill $300. Some companies won’t work on fixed/flat fees but many will (industry dependent). It helps keep hours down because you’re being paid based on delivering value, not how many hours you put it.


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Monkey Uncle

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2018, 04:32:50 AM »
I see a big focus on $ per hour rates. I suggest thinking about what value your services provide to a potential customer and just putting a fixed fee on it. If you can do something in 3 hours that solves a $10k monthly problem then no reason to “only” bill $300. Some companies won’t work on fixed/flat fees but many will (industry dependent). It helps keep hours down because you’re being paid based on delivering value, not how many hours you put it.


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Fixed price jobs are pretty common in my industry, but clients generally want to see how you got to that fixed price.  So most proposals include billing rates and expected hours to do the job.
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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #29 on: January 05, 2018, 07:22:27 AM »
Monkey Uncle - thanks for starting this.

And thanks to everyone who has contributed. I'm doing early semi-retirement (not full FIRE) in my 30s and part time consulting in my current field is one option I will pursue after the initial detox.
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Monkey Uncle

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #30 on: January 06, 2018, 04:49:05 AM »
Monkey Uncle - thanks for starting this.

And thanks to everyone who has contributed. I'm doing early semi-retirement (not full FIRE) in my 30s and part time consulting in my current field is one option I will pursue after the initial detox.

You're welcome.  When are you planning to semi-retire?

Yesterday was my last day at work.  I've been dragging my feet on taking any steps to line up consulting gigs.  I'm going to try to detox for a while, although I probably won't wait too long to start some limited volunteering.  That shouldn't feel too much like work.
"Take this job and shove it" - David Allan Coe

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #31 on: January 06, 2018, 08:43:09 AM »
Monkey Uncle - thanks for starting this.

And thanks to everyone who has contributed. I'm doing early semi-retirement (not full FIRE) in my 30s and part time consulting in my current field is one option I will pursue after the initial detox.

You're welcome.  When are you planning to semi-retire?

Yesterday was my last day at work.  I've been dragging my feet on taking any steps to line up consulting gigs.  I'm going to try to detox for a while, although I probably won't wait too long to start some limited volunteering.  That shouldn't feel too much like work.

Congrats for making the jump!!!

I'm planning to leave my corporate job this spring after I get my bonus. I am in the Army Reserve and have health insurance, some income, and some income upside from that. I'm planning to take a sabbatical through the summer, and start working on projects or looking for consulting gigs in the fall.

If we had zero income for a full year, we'd still be OK and not have to touch our old-age retirement money. But of course we will have some income from my Army Reserve work, plus my wife is a nurse and is currently working 1 day a week so we get some income (and some income upside) based on that. Those two streams aren't enough to cover our cost of living at the moment, but they'll definitely help.
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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #32 on: January 06, 2018, 11:31:36 AM »
I've been a PT Consultant for the last 3 years.  I probably work more than most would want (28 weeks in 2017), but I like the work, control my schedule, and I am fairly compensated for my time.

My transition was more good luck then careful planing.  Plan B did not last and consulting opened up as a good option C.  My background is largely Big Pharma and I had decided to down-shift in my 50s to work at the local university.  I was doing similar tasks (training and project management) and the work was great, but I did not anticipate the politics.  When the Dean stepped down the new department head was not a good fit and I decided to strike off on my own (FU money).  The seed had been planted to consider independent consulting via a LinkedIn friend the previous year. 

The shift to consulting was almost immediate as most of my business was based upon developed relationships.  I have kept most of the same clients over the last 3 years.  New clients emerge but I limit my available consulting time. 

The money was actually an improvement over university pay, working less time and answering only to clients.  Being FI has enabled me to minimize marketing with no pressure to get the next gig.  In fact I have just blocked the previous 2 months as unavailable to spend holiday time with family.

The big question from my wife and daughters is how long I will continue to consult?  I don't have a date or savings number.  I'll keep it up as long as it is enjoyable and a good fit.  I travel a bit more then I would like but there is no commuting.  Controlling my schedule is the key happiness factor.   I know I will take off most of June, July and September (for volunteering and a DD wedding).  So far, so good. 

If consulting tails off in time, I'd be fine with that.  I'll probably play out the string, especially with the tax benefits (Solo 401K & 2018 pass-through deductions).  I've found I enjoy a limited amount of work - it keeps my skills sharp and helps me appreciate my time off. 

I hope that was somewhat helpful.

Is it really controlling your schedule and working remotely that makes you happy? because you're only working 28 weeks out of 52, so it seems any arrangement would make this a sweet deal.

What's better: part-time (50%) on-site with meetings, or full-time but remotely from anywhere in the world and with any daily schedule?

NAVRESLDO

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2018, 05:55:19 AM »
Agreed.  This is a good situation, with an unknown future.  I could lose major clients and reduce my work/income at any time.

Either PT or controlling schedule would be good.  The combination is best. 

Of course this is all only possible with FI; after over 30 years working & saving.

AdrianC

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2018, 08:55:58 AM »
One more caution: be careful what you wish for.

I've done hardly any work the last two months or so. This morning I got a bunch of files for a project I promised an old client I'd work on. Oh boy.

Not excited.

NAVRESLDO

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Re: For those who do PT consulting - how did you handle the transition?
« Reply #35 on: January 11, 2018, 10:11:23 AM »
One more caution: be careful what you wish for.

Agreed.  My main client (70% of business) is undergoing a leadership change, with a new COO who is a cost-cutter.  I expect some slack off there.  I have 5 other clients with varying levels of business (from 1 day up to 4 weeks) and 3 more potential clients (that are limited by my availability).  So I have some diversification. 

I would be fine if I lost the big client.  My biggest client in year 1 had budget cutbacks and no business last year.  I never pressured them for work and I've let them know I am here if needed (decent chances in 2018).

Some good advice I received from mentors:
- Recognize that as an independent consultant, your first job is marketing.  Keep the pipeline full.
- Having strong relationships, positive results, and a constrained schedule makes you more desirable. 
- As demand increases, raise your rates.  Use that FI.  Find what the market will bear.
- Don't take work at low rates.  I'd rather have flexibility for other clients or time off for myself.
- It is better to do some free work for good clients (or marketing) then to try to be a low bidder for a job and set your rate.

Again, hopefully some of that is useful.  I'd be interested in what resonates with others.